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Free Fallin’

May 15, 2010

Can I just say… wow.

Until yesterday, I’ve never felt the urge to laugh, cry, scream, pee, and call my mom all at the same time.

And let me just say this:

I think I’m addicted.

The hubs and I decided we wanted to try at least one extreme sport on our visit to Hawaii.  We already tried scuba diving on our honeymoon in St. Lucia (loved it), and I’m not in the greatest shape for mountain climbing/biking.  We were inspired by a friend who’s been stationed here to try skydiving.  After all, where else are we going to get better views on the way down?

So we called up Skydive Hawaii and set up our day/time.  We decided on the end of the trip so that, if the worst possible thing were to happen, at least we would’ve had a week in Hawaii before we died.  Ha.

There is surprisingly little preparation required before throwing yourself out of a Cessna Caravan.

We needed to sign every page of an 8 billion (okay just 8 ) page contract:

Skydive Hawaii

Notice the not-so-fine print:

Skydive Hawaii

You can’t tell from my face, but signing this contract might have been the scariest part of the entire ordeal:

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Then we waited our turn out on the deck.  It didn’t take very long for Johnny, my soon-to-be tandem partner, to introduce himself and start getting me geared up.  As you can see, it’s a bit of an intimate process.  Luckily, I was too busy trying not to crap my pants from sheer nervousness to really notice.  (Classy, no?)

Tandem Skydiving

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

My cousin Leah took advantage of this opportunity to take pictures of my butt (okay, maybe she was taking pictures of the bright orange DANGER sign on my back):

Hawaii Skydive

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Meanwhile, the hubs was getting some quick instructions from Big Jim, his tandem partner:

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Looks comfortable, huh?

Some jumpers were landing in the airfield right across from us – think the hubs looks excited?

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Hubs and Big Jim:

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Before we knew it, it was time to head out to the airfield.

My thoughts:

You mean whatever is in that little backpack is going to keep me from plummeting 10,000 feet to my death?

Why does this feel like dead woman walking?

I’m trusting you, Johnny!

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

And we’re getting in that?

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

I guess we are.  And we seem happy about it.

Skydive Hawaii

There we go!

Skydive Hawaii

Photo By: Leah B Photography (click for link)

Can’t say the view was terrible…

Skydive Hawaii

Are we high enough yet?

Now is a good time to say one thing:  The staff at Skydive Hawaii were phenomenal.  The photographers and tandem jumpers were laid-back and experts at putting us at ease.

And Johnny, if you’re out there, THANK YOU for pushing me out of that plane.

This was the most surreal moment of my life.  Please excuse my butt.  Thank you.

Skydive Hawaii

I’d like to tell you that all kinds of profound, life-changing thoughts were going through my head at this point.  But in reality, all I could manage was, “holy sh*t.”

Skydive Hawaii

And WTF am I doing??

Skydive Hawaii

But then…

Skydive Hawaii

…then is was pretty. damn. spectacular.

Skydive Hawaii

And I couldn’t help but smile.

Skydive Hawaii

Which might have caused me to drool (occupational hazard, I’m told).

Skydive Hawaii

I’ll admit I lost my cool a bit when the parachute came out (could’ve used some warning on that one, Johnny).  ;)

Skydive Hawaii

I think the hubs had fun, too:

Skydive Hawaii

Skydive Hawaii

We got to hang out in the ‘chute for awhile… Johnny even let me steer.  (Sort-of… I’m glad he didn’t actually let go of the ropes.)

It was so quiet.

So beautiful.


As if all that weren’t enough, two shirtless guys came running at me as we landed.  Umm, does Skydive Hawaii rock, or what?

Skydive Hawaii

I was glad to get the hubs back on the ground with me.  The guys ran at him too, but I don’t think he enjoyed it as much.

Skydive Hawaii

Did we really just do that???!!

Skydive Hawaii

Skydive Hawaii

Thanks, Johnny!

Skydive Hawaii

(Please excuse the fact that I seem to be flossing my teeth with my hair.  We’re lucky my legs are even holding me up at this point.)

We even got these little certificates for completing our first jump:

Skydive Hawaii


I would be lying if I said that after this experience I didn’t seriously contemplate shipping the little monsters over here, setting up house in a van on the North Shore, getting a job in an art gallery, and spending my free time getting my skydiving certification.  The hubs would just have to get stationed over here.  It could work.

But when it comes to these people – these amazing, thrill-seeking, life-loving people – I’m not sure I’d ever fit in.

Aside from getting in my car and driving to work every day, I don’t tend to tempt fate very often – let alone on a regular basis.

How do people do that?  Take these huge risks over and over without freaking out every single time and wondering if the last thing they’ll ever see is the ground – the beautiful ground – plummeting towards their bodies at over 100 mph.?

Maybe I love life too much to take those kind of regular risks.

But it could also be argued by those who take them… maybe I don’t love it enough.

Skydive Hawaii

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Uncle Mark permalink
    May 16, 2010 2:11 am

    Katie. Great story, glad I was able to witness the whole event, from the ground of course. I may have joined you if I had not just gotten my retirement numbers last month.Aloha, thanks for visiting us in Hawaii.

  2. Kate permalink
    May 16, 2010 10:43 am

    Thanks so so so much Uncle Mark for hosting and feeding and driving us around. It was an amazing trip, and I’m sure ill have a few more posts on it over time. Lots more photos to wade through! I’m sitting here in the Seattle airport and miss it so much already! Mucho Mahalo!!

  3. May 19, 2010 8:44 pm

    OMG you are the bravest person in the world! What a super cool experience. I can’t get over the pictures you have of you in the air – the sky is so blue! I could never sky dive in all of my little life, so thank you for doing it for me!

    • Kate permalink
      May 20, 2010 7:43 am

      Oh Erin, it was SUCH a great experience! I would highly recommend it if you can get up the nerve. You’d never look at things the same.

  4. dyedaypreri permalink
    May 24, 2010 2:30 pm

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


    • Kate permalink
      May 27, 2010 10:00 pm

      Thanks, Christian! For some reason your comment ended up in my spam folder – maybe because of the name? Anyway, if you are in fact a real person and not spam, thanks for the comment. I appreciate you reading. :)

  5. Beth permalink
    May 26, 2010 8:31 pm

    Wow. In some ways I am so-o jealous. I’ve wanted to try this for decades. But once I got married the desired diminished a little (just a little – I asked him to do it with me once. He said no). Then I had my first child. Then my second. And with each new person who depended on me, the desire to stay grounded (alive) grew stronger. And now I will probably never do it. Unless I’m 89 and decide I might as well give myself a heart attack that way as go any other way. Ah well, I’ll always have bungee jumping (did that in college).

    Also so jealous you got to go to Hawaii. That’s on my list to do someday. At least before I’m 89.

    • Kate permalink
      May 27, 2010 9:16 am

      My tandem instructor said that a 78-year-old woman peed on him once on the way down. True story. He didn’t even realize until she told him though, and he was still thoroughly impressed with her for doing it.

      Honestly, bungee jumping sounds much scarier to me! You have to actually be the one to jump, and it probably feels like you’re falling much faster when the ground is that much closer. :)

      Definitely go to Hawaii before you’re 89!! All of the islands are so different – there’s something for everyone. We lucked out since we were able to stay with relatives both times. I’m still hoping to get stationed there one day…

  6. Brandon permalink
    November 17, 2010 8:49 am

    Being one of those people that loves to throw themselves out of planes/balloons/helicopters etc, it still makes me smile a little to see how much joy and excitement people get from their first jump. It is something that we all remember – well, most of us…a few very experienced jumpers I know were complete soup sandwiches on their first jumps, but, given what we do, I am surprised most people hold it together as well as they do.
    Congrats for having the courage to take the leap, and glad you loved it!

    • November 17, 2010 10:59 am

      Haha, you can see in one of the last pictures that Justin was a little “soupy” afterwards, but overall we both had an amazing time! Though he was good with the once, I could TOTALLY do it again. And again. Such a thrill!


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